Delaware’s Department of Correction is adding new technology to try to keep coronavirus out of state prisons.
State DOC officials say Delaware is the first to install the Eagle X Pro corona discharge system into prison HVAC systems.
It’s an air purifier that uses positive and negative ions to neutralize airborne pathogens, including the SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for COVID-19.
“It’s part of our comprehensive strategy to stay ahead of the virus, but particularly as we learn about mutations,” said DOC Commissioner Claire DeMatteis.
Eagle X pros are already in Howard R. Young prison in Wilmington and the Community Corrections Treatment Center in Smyrna. They are being installed at Sussex Correctional Institution in Georgetown and several buildings at James T. Vaughn Center in Smyrna.
“Our goal is to get it, particularly, into buildings where inmates who are older and who have chronic underlying health conditions are housed,” said DeMatteis. “Because we know this virus impacts them more severely. That's our priority, and then from there we’ll install it in all the other buildings.”
$200,000 in federal funding for the air purifiers comes through the Delaware Criminal Justice Council.
The DOC has also implemented contactless wrist thermometer scanners to check temps in prisons. And it also started using portable electrostatic sprayers for decontamination since the start of the pandemic.
Visitation and many programs in state prisons will continue virtually until at least next month.
There are only five active COVID cases among the state’s inmate population and none are symptomatic, and the DOC has administered just under 1,000 vaccines.